In so many communities with large black populations women and men began running for office. They ran for the city councils or even for mayor and they counted on the majority population they had in order to get one of their own elected to these seats.
With black councilmen, mayors and even governor’s things started to change for the better. Soon there were black police captains and even commissioners. Then gradually the color of the police departments began to change. Life began to improve for African Americans within the city and even in the public schools as African Americans began to run for and win seats on the school boards.
Two years ago several Native American women ran for local offices. It was a new thing for all of the candidates and they did not have good prospects for raising campaign money and most did not know the ins and outs of the local politics. They learned as they ran, but by the time many of them really got into the groove it was too late and the elections were over and nearly all of them lost. Well, it was a learning process and now it is time to take the education most of them got from this first time run and throw those hats back into the arena and run again.
Ladies like Cante Heart and Natalie Means gave it a go. Means ran for mayor and gave Mayor Allender a run for his money. As the winner Allender should have appointed Means to a city position, but he did not. As a matter of record, has he appointed any Native Americans as his personal appointees?
When Allender took office Native Sun News Today was publishing the minutes of the Rapid City Council and other important documents that would help the nearly 20,000 Native Americans residing in Rapid City better understand the workings of the city government. Too often Native are left out because even the mayor does not consider them to be Rapid City citizens even though they live here, rent and buy homes here, shop here, send their children to school here and pay city taxes here. Just as soon as Allender took office he canceled our agreement with the City of Rapid City and stopped allowing us the opportunity to print the City Council minutes of meetings and to stop advertising city job opening with us. He broke the agreement we had worked hard to get with former Mayor Sam Kooiker. We believe it was because our newspaper endorsed Kooiker when Allender ran against him. He not only punished our newspaper, he also punished the Native American citizens of Rapid City by cutting them out of the opportunity to learn about their own city government.
Well Mr. Mayor, we have the numbers to vote you out of office and to put many Natives on the City Council. All we need now are the candidates and we are calling on all Natives interested in running for office to step forward now because the next elections are not that far away. Let’s start getting organized NOW.
(Contact the Editorial Board of Native Sun News Today at email@example.com)